2019 – The Rules of Golf

In 2012 an extensive review of the rules of golf started. After receiving feedback from the global golfing community the new rules have been finalised.

David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at the R&A, stated, “We are pleased to be introducing the new Rules of Golf after a collaboration and wide- ranging review process which has embraced the views of golfers, rules experts and administrators worldwide. We believe that the new Rules are more in tune with what golfers would like and are easier to understand and apply to everyone who enjoys playing this great game.”

The 2019 new rules which come into effect on the 1st January 2019 are designed to make the rules easier to understand, apply to all golfers, and make the game more attractive and easier for newcomers to the game.

The official version of the 2019 Rules of Golf can be viewed by visiting RandA.org.

The most significant changes in the 2019 Rules cover the following areas:

Dropping Procedure, Measuring when taking relief, Removing the penalty for a double hit, Balls lost or Out of Bounds, Elimination or reduction of “ball moved” penalties, Relaxed putting green rules, Relaxed rules for “penalty areas”, Relaxed bunker rules and Player Integrity.

Dropping Procedure.
When taking relief golfers will drop from knee height. This will ensure consistency and simplify while retaining the randomness of the drop.

Measuring when taking relief
Relief will be measured by using the longest club in the bag excluding the putter. Relief will be one or two club lengths depending on the situation.

Removing the penalty for a double hit
The penalty stroke for accidentally striking the ball more than once in the course of a stroke has been removed. Golfer will simply count the one stroke they made to strike the ball.

Balls Lost or Out of Bounds
A new local rule will be available permitting committees to allow golfers to drop a replacement ball in the vicinity of where the ball was lost or went out of bounds. This would attract a two stroke penalty. This rule will address concerns regarding pace of play at club level. This rule is not intended for higher levels of play, such as professional or elite level competitions.

Elimination or reduction of “ball moved” penalties
There will be no penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green or when searching for a ball. The golfer will not be responsible for causing the ball to move unless it is “virtually certain” that the golfer intended to do so.

Relaxed Putting Green Rules
There will be no penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits an unattended flagstick in the hole. Golfers may repair spike marks and damage made by shoes, animals or any other damage.

Relaxed rules for Penalty Areas
Red or Yellow marked penalty areas. There will be no penalty for moving loose impediments or touching the ground or water in the penalty area.

Relaxed Bunker Rules
There will be no penalty for moving loose impediments in a bunker or for touching the sand with a hand or club. A limited set of restrictions such as grounding the club next to the ball is kept to preserve the challenge of playing from the sand.

The above is a summary of some of the changes and golfers should ensure that they obtain a copy of The Players Edition of the rules or go to the R & A website by clicking here

Have questions?

Got questions on the new rules of golf? Contact Matt via the website form